So I have to kick off this super insightful Channing Tatum acting critique with a little PSA for anyone who’s going to see Side Effects this weekend. It’s not what you expect. At least not what I expected from seeing the trailers. That’s not to say it’s bad, because it isn’t. I enjoyed it. It entertained me for the full 90 minutes. The plot definitely took a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Is it the best psychological thriller I’ve ever seen?
But that’s an unfair question because I’ve seen You’ve Got Mail several times. And that’s a movie that will mess with your head! When will Tom Hanks tell Meg Ryan the truth?? Before Fox Books opens? After her store closes? Forget New York City, that movie’s like Stress City.
Anyway I just wanted to warn you that the trailers for this movie are a little confusing. But maybe that’s supposed to be a metaphor for the movie. I don’t know. I’m a blogger, not a metaphoroligst (a degree you can now get at 4 out of every 5 liberal arts schools). Now before we go any further, I’m going to warn you there will be spoilers in this following paragraphs. If you’re the kind of person who likes writing “way to ruin the whole movie asshole” in the comment sections of movie reviews, x out now. If you’re a normal person who can handle a spoiler or two, proceed.
Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) and Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) are a happily married couple living in Connecticut. As you probably know from other movies you’ve watched, giving characters a Connecticut address is an easy way to say “these people are very rich!” So yes, the Taylors are a wonderfully wealthy couple living the high life. While I can buy Rooney Mara as a wealthy young woman, Channing Tatum just doesn’t sell it hard enough for me. Especially when he’s supposed to be some kind of super savvy banker who makes enough money to host extravagant luncheons in the middle of an endless lawn.
There’s just something about him that doesn’t scream Wall Street Banker. I bought his performance as Magic Mike Hoku-style, hook, line and sinker. I could easily imagine him stripping at night and making furniture out of litter by day. But I can’t see him sitting down for a five-course meal in the middle of Manhattan and knowing what wine to order. I absoultely cannont picture him saying the phrase “my car service.” And unfortunately for the movie, that’s what we’re asked to believe. We’re asked to suspend belief and pretend that Channing Tatum’s that guy. The guy who gets sent to federal prison for scamming the system. Look at this guy! Does that look like Bernie Madoff to you?
The strangest thing about casting Channing Tatum in this role is that they didn’t need to cast anyone super famous at all. Here comes the big spoiler: he dies very early on in the movie. So it’s not like he’s starring in it at all. I guess they wanted to throw his name on the posters so they could get more ladies in the theater seats, but it’s definitely misleading advertising. I’m sure there’s an abundant amount of b-level actors who could pull off “rich guy” better than Channing Tatum — and honestly the producers should have cast one of those guys. Because the thought of Channing Tatum being wealthy totally distracted me from the movie and took me out of the moment. Which is too bad, because he stars in a few crucial scenes.
But I guess every male actor gets to try their hand at a serious role every once in a while. We let Matthew McConaughey do it all the time, why not give Channing a chance? You know, as long as he knows we prefer seeing him take his clothes off on stage.